Updated: Mar 22, 2020
By: Alison Harrison, Mountaineer News Contributor Posted: March 19, 2020 | 03:32AM EST
ELLISVILLE, MS - A couple of weeks ago my youngest nephew, Andrew, participated in the Upshur County Social Studies Fair. Like his aunt, thirty some years ago, he chose the Vietnam War as his project. My sister (his mother) sent pictures of Andrew and his project, and I gleamed with pride when I saw his shirt which read “proud grandson of a Vietnam Vet."
We come from a very patriotic family, a long line of war veterans. We have always been very proud that our father was a Vietnam Veteran who at the age of 20 was drafted and served his country with pride. As a young girl, I recall looking at photo albums at my paternal grandmother’s house and seeing pictures of this young man, a slender, blonde guy with a big smile on his face - thousands of miles from home in a foreign land, My Dad. I never really understood the sacrifices that he and other soldiers made until I got older, and learned more about the world.
Later in the day, the Upshur County Schools posted pictures of the contestants and those who had advanced to the regional competition, and there he was - my precious little Andrew in the photos. We were all so proud. My dad was sure to post the picture on a Vietnam Veteran Site, on which he is a member. Hundreds of men and women veterans “liked” and “commented” on Andrew’s photo.
A few days later, as I was cleaning my house, the television was on in the living room, so I sat down to take a break. The movie that was playing, coincidentally, was We Were Soldiers. This is a movie depicting a battle in the Vietnam War. As I sat there and watched a scene from the movie where a young soldier was being deployed right after the birth of his first child, I began to think of the sacrifices once again.
We sit in our homes daily, go to work, run our errands, do all the things we normally do, and most of us never think of why we are able to do these things. We go to church, we pray, we socialize when and where we desire. Freedom, liberty, something we are afforded because of the sacrifice of many. Those who never ask for credit, many away from their families and miss all the important milestones in life, births, birthdays, deaths etc. Soldiers who endure extreme conditions and stress that we will never understand. They do it for us, for their families, for freedom, and liberty.
I also think of the pandemic across our nation right now. Businesses closing, people being laid off, the economy crashing, and people living in total fear - but not the American Soldier. The American Soldiers do not get to tele-work, call off to stay at home or self-quarantined themselves. The American Soldier continues to serve this country and her people.
Regardless how anyone feels about a particular war or era, be thankful to those who sacrificed so much for you. I am thankful to my dad, my grandfather, my uncle, and my cousins who have all served our country with pride. I am thankful to live in this land that I love. I am thankful to the American Soldier. I am proud to fly the American Flag in my front yard. God bless the U.S.A.